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Business News of Thursday, 14 October 2021


Nigeria, others oppose imposition of air travel vaccine passports

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

Nigeria and other countries in Africa on Wednesday opposed the much-touted proposal to impose vaccine passports for air travellers, describing it as unacceptable.

African Ministers of Aviation said the proposal was tantamount to discrimination against certain groups of population, especially on the African continent, which still had considerable number of its citizens who are yet to receive the vaccines.

They also described the proposal as going against the intent of the Chicago Convention on the need to preserve friendship and understanding, reduce threat to general security and establish international air transport based on equal opportunity.

The African ministers made this known in a presentation delivered virtually by Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the ongoing International Civil Aviation Organisation High Level Conference on COVID-19 in Canada.

The African delegation, in a statement issued in Abuja by Nigeria’s aviation ministry, argued that rather than impose vaccine passports, state parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation should continue to minimise the risks during travel.

This, they said, should be by ensuring compliance with existing multinational treaties, international frameworks, guidelines and recommendations.

They also recommended that human rights, regional, continental, global health security, economic growth, social cohesion, and use of innovation to harmonise requirements should be promoted.

Sirika said African nations frowned on states imposing unilateral measures of global nature related to public health.

He stressed that such states should refrain from the practice and instead take measures that would facilitate the reopening and reconnection of the world.

The minister said, “There is a clear onus on both public and private stakeholders to take full measure of the dire circumstances now facing the air transport sector and to ensure sufficient operational sustainability.

“These actions are critical to make sure that the world is adequately reconnected, as aviation plays a critical role in the global economic recovery and to achieve the realisation of the goals of both AU Agenda 2063 and UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.”

On the general strategies for recovery, Sirika stated that the global distribution of emergency and humanitarian supplies including vaccines would no doubt depend on an economically viable aviation system.

He told the conference that aviation was capable of stimulating recovery and growth of the global economy by acting as an enabler and multiplier of economic activities.